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Bitter Winter Book Review

Ilyon and Acktar Blog Tour Header

Bitter Winter is the fifth book in the Jaye L. Knight’s Christian fantasy series, Ilyon Chronicles. If you’ve followed my blog for any length of time, you’ve heard my excessive praise for this amazing series.

Well. You haven’t heard the end of it yet. I’ve now read Bitter Winter, and it just might be my new favorite of the series. And if you know anything about my views on the previous four books, you know this one is excellent.

Before we get into the review, here’s the official tour page.

Here’s my spotlight of this book and the two others in this tour. You can also find a giveaway for the whole Ilyon series at that link.

Bitter Winter
This is an amazing, beautiful, deep book. It’s just what a story of believers ought to be. Sarah Holman beautifully summed it up in her review: “I think the reason that these books mean so much to me is they are so true to life while being a good escape.” It’s full of tragedy, clinging together, trying to solve issues in one’s own strength, and the all-encompassing, all-sufficient power of God. There are no words to describe the depth and beauty of this book.

I love that character development is a strong element of this series. I love how I still feel like Jace and Kyrin are the same Jace and Kyrin from Resistance, only so much more mature. There weren’t a whole lot of new characters in this book, which I actually appreciate. The cast of characters is so large already, and time spent with our favorites is a joy.

Alex was a refreshing character to get to know. I loved having him in the story – he was not at all stereotypical. I’m quite interested in what he may do next. His goals and motives were very understandable – I appreciated the depth of his motives. He was very well crafted.

The description in narrative sections is a weaker part of the story for me. For me, when the story is shown through the character’s eyes, it immerses me in the story, draws me along, and makes me feel like I’m experiencing, not reading. However, the action, dialogue, romantic, and emotional scenes excelled at this!

Bitter Winter is absolutely cohesive. I loved the flow of the scenes and plot: very natural, easy to read, logical, and appropriate. The description of the emotions connects with me well. Reactions felt very appropriate. High emotion scenes felt real. The author does an excellent job portraying real emotions without being unnecessarily dramatic.

Dialogue feels great to me. I love how I can especially feel Trask and Daniel’s unique voices throughout their POV scenes.

Overall, Bitter Winter is a great length with a great plot and a great message. It’s exactly what a story should be – especially the spiritual flow of Jace’s storyline – so perfect. The ending is so sweetly done and beautiful. It’s everything I hoped it would be. I love how the whole book ties together with the themes when the story begins and in the ending scenes.

Despite one particular sad incident in this book, I love this story. Despite what the author puts the characters through, it’s a beautiful tale. I wish the story could have gone differently for one particular character in this book, but I love this story and all Jace and the others learn through it. I love how the author set up Jace’s choices – set him up so gently and yet desperately that it’s easy to see why it’s impossible. Overall, it’s a tale of love – love that must be sacrificed, love that must to be placed entirely in Elom’s hands.

I especially love what the author is doing with this series. This book in particular has an important message to believers woven throughout its pages. It’s something deep and near to everyone’s hearts – the suffering, the helplessness, the difficulty of surrender, and the need to let God be Lord. This is beautifully shown through Bitter Winter, and it’s what causes this book to rate as one of my favorites in this series so far. I love stories that get down to that personal deep level, and seeing that in Jace – after he’s come so far – was beautiful.

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